This class is meant to facilitate an interdisciplinary conversation of the representation of HIV/AIDS in many different media sources: science writing, journalism, visual art, literature, drama, and popular culture. At the core of this class is the organizing question: what does it mean to put the perspectives of the scientist and the literary critic in conversation when discussing these widely varied representations of HIV/AIDS? What is at stake for the scientist or for the literary critic in these different depictions of HIV/AIDS? What is the science behind cultural depictions of HIV/AIDS, and why is it important that we think about it? What are the social and interpretive meanings behind the representation of HIV/AIDS, and why/how are these relevant for both the scientist and critic? Ultimately, this course is meant to remind its participants that the personal and political of necessity intersects with the scientific—and that scientists and critics can learn valuable lessons from one another in engaging with one another even as they conduct their individual work about HIV/AIDS.
Dr. Ann Fox and Dr. David Wessner